News & Blogs
Snow-Covered Colorado Farmland Appears Three-Dimensional from Above
Published: January 11, 2019
You might not believe your eyes, but the aerial photo below shows flat farmland in the High Plains of eastern Colorado.
The photo, shared on reddit last week by Daniel Hoerr, creates an optical illusion in which the flat farmland appears three-dimensional.
Hoerr's post indicated the three-dimensional illusion was created when patches of blown snow remained while snow on other patches of the farmland melted on a sunny day.
The geography of eastern Colorado is flat and includes vast amounts of farmland. Snow-covered fields in this part of the state are common in the winter.
We reached out to Noah Newman, research coordinator at the Colorado Climate Center, for additional insight on this fascinating phenomenon.
"Overall, I am figuring that the culprit is mainly due to the wind as the snow fell – coupled with farming practices such as fallowing some sections while growing crops in others – therefore intensifying the places where the sideways-blowing snowfall was blocked from the crops," Newman wrote in an email to weather.com. "Additionally, I’m sure some snow fences, property lines and lines of trees are causing a lot of the 3D effect as well."
It appears the aerial photo was taken from an airplane and is yet another example of why you should always choose the window seat.
Hoerr also provided the aerial photo below, which shows how flat the farmland normally appears without the three-dimensional optical illusion.
The white towers scattered around the land are wind turbines. Wind power was the source of 17.6 percent of Colorado's electricity generation in 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association. That's equivalent to 889,100 homes powered by wind.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.